Hulk Hogan has won his defamation lawsuit against Gawker. A Florida jury returned a verdict in favor of Hogan, awarding the wrestling star $115 million dollars.
Hogan has been recorded having sex with Bubba the LoveSponge’s wife, unbeknownst to Hogan. Gawker obtained the recording and released portions of it, including graphic images of Hogan having sex.
The case had been a surreal affair, as a Gawker editor stated under oath that he would, in theory, publish a sex tape of a minor, and generally coming across very poorly.
The $115 verdict is one of the largest defamation awards in US history. The jury would have had to be clearly favorable to Hogan’s arguments and more so incredibly upset with Gawker’s behavior. With such a number clearly encompassing punitive damages, the jury had to have come to the conclusion that Gawker acted maliciously – that they were actively trying to harm Hogan.
Gawker will no doubt appeal the decision. Generally, awards of this size are lessened on appeal but due to the unique nature of Hogan’s very legitimate damages and the seemingly outrageous actions of Gawker, it may stand.
The case may end up being a landmark decision as the question of what is private and public as it concerns celebrities is a relatively modern issue. To that end, Hulk Hogan may one day find himself before the United States Supreme Court.